$93.6M for MIDS-LVT Terminals to USA, Allies
Yesterday, DID covered a $34M Canadian request for 97 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVTs). Jam-resistant Link 16 radios automatically exchange battlefield information – particularly locations of friendly and enemy aircraft, ships and ground forces – among themselves in a long-range, line-of-sight network. For example, air surveillance tracking data from an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft can be instantly shared with fighter aircraft and air defense units.
More than a dozen countries have installed Link 16 terminals on 19 platforms, making it an interoperability success story.
Recently, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, CA issued another $93.6 million in firm-fixed-price delivery orders for MIDS-LVTs. The systems will be installed in U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army platforms, and are also destined for a number of foreign militaries.
The MIDS LVT-1 was developed by a multinational consortium to provide Link 16 capability at a lower weight, volume and cost than the Joint Tactical Information Data System (JTIDS), and is managed by the U.S. Navy MIDS International Program Office, located in San Diego, CA. Its responsibilities include management of several versions of MIDS terminals for Navy, Air Force, Army and international military use. A variant for use by the US Army, the LVT-2, is optimized for the ground tactical environment.
These delivery orders were competitively procured, with two proposals solicited and two offers received via the SPAWAR E-commerce web site. The synopsis was released via the Federal Business Opportunities web site. Then the orders were divided unequally between the American primary and secondary source producer of MIDS equipment.
BAE Systems/ Rockwell Collins joint venture Data Link Solutions in Cedar Rapids, IA received a $32.5 million delivery order (N00039-00-D-2100). This order combines purchases for the U.S. (78.4%) and the governments of Australia (4.5%); Switzerland (8.2%); Japan (6.7%); and New Zealand (2.2%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Wayne, NJ (50%), and Cedar Rapids, IA (50%), and is expected to be complete by May 2007.
Small business qualifier ViaSat in Carlsbad, CA is being awarded a $61 million delivery order (N00039-00-D-2101). This order combines purchases for the U.S. (98%) and the government of Japan (2%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Carlsbad, Calif., (30%), in various other sites worldwide (70%), and is expected to be complete by May 2007.
In 2002, the U.S. Defense Department qualified ViaSat as a second-source producer of MIDS LVT-1 terminals for U.S. aircraft. It also is the sole manufacturer of LVT-2 ground-based terminals for the U.S. Army.
MIDS Low-Volume Terminals (LVTs) will be installed on most U.S. Air Force fighters, bombers and tankers, most U.S. Navy aircraft and ships, the Eurofighter Typhoon, France’s Rafale and Mirage 2000, Spain and Canada’s F-18s, and Italy’s Tornado and AMX aircraft, among others. The structure of this contract suggests that Australia and Switzerland’s F-18s, Japan’s F-15Js or F-2s, and New Zealand’s P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft will also be so equipped. Australia and Japan’s P-3C Orion aircraft, and Japan’s 767 AWACS aircraft, could also be MIDS-LVT candidates if they do not already possess it.
Data Link Solutions and ViaSat are currently collaborating on the forthcoming MIDS JTRS, which will have a software-controlled architecture. MIDS JTRS will provide the current Link 16 and TACAN (a tactical air navigation aid providing range and bearing from a beacon) functions, and will feature three additional programmable channels to run various JTRS communications, navigation and command-and-control software waveforms. Within the same volume as the MIDS-LVT, MIDS JTRS will be able to do Link 16, TACAN, and, say, UHF or VHF and the Wideband Networking Waveform. Members of EuroMIDS will probably produce MIDS JTRS in the future as well.
Additional Readings & Sources
- The Wonders of Link 16 For Less: MIDS-LVTs (updated). DID’s updated FOCUS Article coverage of MIDS-LVT, program contracts and related Link 16 efforts.
- Ground-Based Air Defense – Link-16
- Rockwell-Collins – MIDS:LVT Low Volume Terminal (Link 16)
- C4ISR Journal (May 9/05) – Situational awareness data link Link 16 joining the JTRS family